Adobe has published a tutorial (PDF link) that explains how to convert FreeHand files into Illustrator documents.

The move has caused some commentators to speculate that Adobe plans to abandon development of FreeHand.

The vector graphics application was formerly developed and maintained by Macromedia, which has now been taken over by Adobe.

Adobe has its own vector graphics application, Illustrator, which integrates across its Creative Suite range of products.

Prior to the merger between the two firms Macromedia chose to leave FreeHand out of its final update of its Studio software suite, which also raised speculation for the fate of the product.

Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen recently promised a new version of Creative Suite in the second quarter of 2007. This will contain Universal versions of Adobe's creative applications that run natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

"There will be a lot of integration between Macromedia and Adobe products as part of Creative Suite 3," he promised.

It's likely that users of existing Macromedia tools that formerly competed with existing Adobe products will learn which of their applications will continue to be developed in advance of the release of Creative Suite next year.